Shakespeare's Richards

Shakespeare is the greatest author of all time IMO. The history and politics behind Richard II and Richard III almost a century apart is a fascinating study. This article is an interesting look at the two plays, the two people and what they more likely would be if truly known and not so much caricatures.

"The Richard of Richard III is often regarded as a caricature, a cardboard-cutout villain rather like the Sweeney Todd of Victorian melodrama. But he is far more: in fact, he is a fascinating figure, from a psychological point of view."

Entebbe Hijackers

One of the most gripping stories from the last or 20th Century was the amazing rescue of hostages taken by terrorists when an Israeli plane was hijacked and taken to Entebbe, Uganda. It was an amazing rescue with a small loss of life that I am not sure would be done in this day and age. Few would have the courage and take the risks now.

Here is a description of the hijacking and rescue with a focus on who were the hijackers. L'Audace.

Charles Dickens Bio

I have always been a Charles Dickens fan as an author. In high school, we had to pick an author to read three of their books and then write a report. I initially picked Ernest Hemingway. This did not go over well since for some reason Hemingway and I were not simpatico. My grades in advanced English class were not doing well. I asked to switch authors and given the OK, I went with Dickens. This is where I also became a lifelong fan of A Tale of Two Cities.

It appears that based on Dickens life, he was a troubled man or trouble seemed to intrude. This article gives a synopsis of what they see as questions about his lifestyle and choices. His writings likely demonstrated much of his what was occurring. Enjoy the read and maybe we can avoid bringing on such troubles in our lives.

"The Mystery of Charles Dickens is a biography ready to take risks. Wading away from the shore – where the crowd laughs at comic turns and weeps at the pathos of orphans – AN Wilson takes six deep-sea dives in search of the monsters of the lower waters. He is after the darker things Dickens could conceive, and the question is how much of Dickens himself went into what appear distorted fantasy creatures moving about in the murk and preparing to injure others."\

Smallpox Vaccine Strains

I came across an interesting story. Smallpox was one of the disease scourges of history. It is now conquered from the world and probably found in Level IV deadly pathogen labs. We began to conquer the disease when Edward Jenner developed an inoculation technique by using milder cowpox to infect people to develop immunity. Queen Elizabeth I is believed to have had smallpox in her earlier girlhood years. Just think of how history would have changed if she had succumbed.

Back to the story where scientists have determined the smallpox strains used to vaccinate Civil War soldiers. The story is here.

A Rose Is A Rose

We have two rose bushes that were the first we planted and tried in our garden here in Berlin. One is a peachy-apricot color and the other is more approaching the reddish color of a peach skin. They have been prolific flower producers in the past and then got trimmed back plus deer-eaten. They are now in bloom. It seems to be a good rose year. I was able to snag a set of buds and put in a bud vase. Enjoy the blooms.



It was a beautiful, clear evening to see the stars last night. They were outstanding. Currently, there is a comet visible about 60-80 minutes seen after sundown for this month into August. It is Comet NEOWISE and won't be seen again here for more than 6800 years in the future. One has to look in the Northwest sky below Ursa Major just above the horizon. We could view it with our binoculars. How cool is that. More detail on the comet here.

A picture from the article here:


Haying Rules

Our two fields of grass hay have reached the cutting phase and were mowed yesterday. Raking tomorrow and then baling. Hoping to get it all sold. We have a good crop this year after spraying for weeds and fertilizing. In all of this, two of my cousins reminded me of a saying my Dad used to use and is burned in their memory. "If you cut your hay before the 4th of July, you deserve to get it rained on." A Wolfenbarger rule I'd say.

haying rules-7-18-20

Happy Ryan

Ryan's got his tractor love going lately. Between the swing set with lots of swinging and wanting to drive the lawn tractor himself, he is a happy boy this summer (as long as he gets his way, if not, then he pouts). In this he got to act like he was going for a drive.



We went to Marks Ridge Winery for another musical event the other lovely night. The hummingbirds were fascinated with a large red flowered plant to get their nectar from. They were flying to and fro that evening. I tried to capture a few pictures with the phone. I did get some though might be hard to see in the middle left center of the plant picture.


Vada and First Tractor Ride

And here is Miss Vada checking out how this lawn tractor works.

Vada lawn-tractor-drive-7-13-20

Tractor Fascination

When the grandkids gather, it seems that they are fascinated with getting their tractor rides. On the big John Deere tractor or more often, the John Deere lawn mowing tractor. Getting rides with PaPa on his lap or in the trailer pulled behind. Ryan is especially focused on tractor rides and now Vada wants to check it out. She went from nervous due to the noise to let's get this going because we can't let our cousins do more than she can.



Iconic Book Quotes

I came across this linked article about the 100 most iconic book quotes. I love books and it is interesting to see a list that people come up with. In addition, one can use such a list to find a quote that fits where needed. One such quote is a favorite of "A Tale of Two Cities" which to me seems to fit these turbulent times where so many people act like Jacobins with too many female Madame Defarges present. The list is here, the one quote is -

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities


Battle of Saratoga

How did the smaller Continental Army win crucial battles against a larger (often) and more disciplined British Army during the Revolutionary War. One of those crucial battles was the Battle of Saratoga (New York). Here is a short summary about the battle and why it was significant - plus who was involved.

Tree Cutting

Scott wanted a tree cut down behind his house. The chainsaw artist, Bob, brought his chainsaw and ear muffs and brought the tree down alongside the canal. Timber!!




Music and Friends

Our local winery, Marks Ridge, has musical events every Friday evening during July and August. Sit on the lawn chairs, eat snacks, and listen to good music. This year's sessions started this last Friday night, the 3rd, with the group, Dinna Fash, which means "Don't Fret or Worry". We, met our friends the Gentinos, Gene and Liz, at the event and had a wonderful evening. It was a perfect evening, not too hot or too cold. We need more of this to heal our souls.


Independence Day 2020

Another 4th of July is here. I wish I could say it is a carefree and happy 4th with no worries. This is 2020 with the Coronavirus19 pandemic has its chill on how and where we can celebrate the holiday. No fireworks unless at home or on television. Now there are elements in the country who want to eliminate, I'd say even destroy, the holiday. There is little joy in viewing this and more a bit of despair and anger to see this. I don't know where our country goes with this but this concept will not be part of our family. We do love our country in spite of its faults.
I am glad we had Founders who did have the foresight to create this marvelous example of a republic for as long as it lasts which I hope is so much longer.

There are posts online that each year point out the meaning the our Independence Day holiday. They usually are on the Powerline Blog and this year is no different, found here and here.


The flag at Ft. McHenry near Baltimore.

Parterre 2020 Version

This past 2 years have been difficult to work on our garden areas and keep them clean up from weeds and grass. Many are a bit overgrown. Age and medical issues have caught up to us. I will say that our parterre area is looking particularly nice and mature this year. One area to enjoy and be pleased on how it has turned out from our small version of an English type of garden. Enjoy the view!

parterre-2020-small 7-3-20

Moon Through Tree Tops

The weather has been more volatile lately, cloudy and rainy with wind and then broken clouds to sun. Not much as far a summer here yet. I did go out on a recent evening and was able to see a partial moon through the tops of the trees. I think these trees next to the house on the southeast side are about 30 feet taller than they were 15-16 years ago. At some point I won't see the moon in that position due to the trees. It did come out as an interesting photo though.

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